Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ten Books That Will Make You Cry (Children & Adolescent Literature)

I have to say, I don’t cry easily…in life or in books.   Finding 10 books that made me cry, it was a challenge.  Since this blog is related to children and adolescent literature, I have only listed books that fall under that category.   If you want a good cry…check one of these books out.  Just be sure to have a box of tissues nearby, preferably Puffs with Lotion.  J
1.     Old Yeller (Fred Gipson).  My grandfather read this story to me when I was a little kid.  It may have been the first story I ever cried over.  I remember hiding my face under the covers so he wouldn’t see me. 
2.    Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls).  I cried over this one during school in fifth grade.   I don’t think anyone noticed though.  They were probably all crying too!    Since the first two books I ever cried at were about dogs, I guess I had a soft spot for them.  J
3.    Unknown Title (A Mystery).  When I was in middle school, I remember reading a book about a girl around 13 years old who develops a terminal illness.  Either she died or one of her friends in the hospital passed away.  I think it was the first time I ever faced my own mortality or “knowing” someone who died young.  I wish I could remember the title!  The book was memorable, even if the title isn’t. 
4.    Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson).  This novel is one of my favorites of all time.  I read it in college for a children’s literature course.  I have read it a couple times since.  Cried each time.  I also cried during the movie—both times.    
5.    A Day No Pigs Would Die  (Robert Peck).  The first time I read it, I was listening to it on CD at work.  (Yes, I had a job where they actually encouraged us to listen to music or to audio books.)  Despite being at work, I had tears running down my face.  Even the second time I read it, I cried just as much.  It is a beautiful coming of age story. 
6.    Walk Two Moons (Sharon Creech).  I read this one three times.  Yep, I cried all three times.  This book is one of my all time favorites for its beautiful storytelling and characterization.  I love the different narrative layers that all come together into a unified plot and satisfying ending.  I keep hoping they will make this novel into a movie. 
7.    Lemonade Club  (Patricia Polacco).  The title sounds light-hearted.  The story starts off upbeat.  As I was reading this picture book out loud to my son, I started weeping.  The relationship between the two friends and both of them with their teacher is heartfelt and uplifting. 
8.    The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Kidd).  I could not help but cry during one especially emotional situation.  I cried when I watched the movie too---both times.   This novel is a coming of age story and a quest to find a mother’s love. 
9.    Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares).  I love this series of books.  It is the end of the first summer that hit that emotional cord.  Yep,  I cry each time I see the movie too. 
10.  Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keys).  A student recommended this book to me.  I found it especially profound.  It is about a mentally challenged man who becomes an exceptional genius only to become mentally challenged again (this time knowing it).  The ending is heart wrenching—in some ways more than all the rest. 
For more books that will make your cry, check out The Broke and the Bookish.  Scroll to the bottom for the list.


  1. Flowers for Algernon made my list as well! The ending really is very sad. Also I cried watching the movie Where the Red Fern Grows and its sequel.

  2. The one kid's book that always makes me cry is Love You Forever. It's my favorite, but I have yet to read it out loud without getting choked up.

  3. @ Short Story, I see that book on a lot of lists. It is sweet, but it did not make me cry. I guess I am in the minority there. :)

    @danya, Flowers for Algernon was so thought provoking. In some ways it is sadder than dying to me. The thought of living in an asylum and loosing your mind is worse than death (in my opinion).


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